【December 2016 No.390】A Christmas Message “Light in the Darkness”

by Umesaki Koji, moderator Kyushu District


As the 2016 Christmas season draws near, I would like to share with you some of the unprecedented events I experienced in our district during this year, and about the “light in the darkness” that I saw with my own eyes.


On April 14, at 9:26 pm, the Kumamoto region was stuck by a tremendous earthquake, measuring 7.0 on the intensity scale and 6.5 in magnitude (richter scale). The violent quake came with no warning, and people spent that terrible night in fear and confusion. When the full extent of destruction was finally revealed in the first light of day, we naturally felt bewildered. But somewhere in our hearts we were already thinking about what must be done first, or what needed to be cleaned up first. In other words, everyone was thinking, “The earthquake is over.” “There might be some aftershocks, but they will gradually end.”


We live in an earthquake-prone country, but no one anticipated that the sudden violent earthquake, which caused such devastation, might be followed by another, even greater, tremor. Yet this is exactly what happened 28 hours after the first quake, at 1:25 am on April 16. The second earthquake measured 7.0 in intensity and 7.3 in magnitude. Furniture and utensils that had just been painstakingly picked up and returned to their places exploded across rooms once more. Many homes that had thankfully withstood the first shock suffered heavy damage or collapse in the second.


This immediately made people aware that the situation was truly unpredictable. All of our trusted, experience-based earthquake rules were suddenly swept aside. Also swept aside were the fruits of our initial recovery efforts, which were achieved by rousing ourselves with great effort. “Every effort is useless.” Many people felt dispirited, losing their will to fight like a boxer matched against a far superior opponent.


Churches, members, and pastors were all tossed about and impacted by this giant force, just like every other building and people. But the work that was done by pastors in the earthquake region in the first days after the two powerful tremors was truly remarkable. Even though they were themselves victims of the disaster, they set aside the needs of their own families to search out church members, offer them comfort and encouragement, and try to meet their needs. They also provided crucial life supplies to the many people who came to disaster shelters or opened their own doors to welcome, serve, and comfort displaced neighbors. These efforts surpassed all bounds of expectation.


One of these pastors was particularly worried about a church member, an elderly woman, who lived alone. He was able to confirm her safety after the first big tremor, but could not reach her after the second. He drove toward her place through streets still rippling from aftershocks and reached her high-rise building, only to find the elevators stopped. He raced up to her apartment on the 10th floor, came back down with her on his back, then carried her to his house. This pastor was already in a state of psychological and physical exhaustion, but he could not help but run into a dangerous building to assist someone else.


In another case two church members, a husband and wife, became trapped in a room that somehow had escaped collapse while the rest of the house crumbled. Their home was in the most heavily affected part of town, which was quite far from their church. Roads were badly damaged and people assumed their neighborhood could not be reached. But their pastor packed food and water onto a motorbike and, by weaving through debris and finding alternate routes, found his way to their home. After this, he returned to them many times to offer encouragement. The supplies he took them were the very same things that he needed at his house, where water service had stopped and food was in short supply.


When I recall the many actions of these pastors, who “while suffering themselves, reached out to the suffering,” I feel strongly that these were all the works of “those who know the One who came.” It is precisely because they receive life from the One who could not abandon suffering people, and who came to be wounded and abandoned while ultimately bringing people to forgiveness, that they had no choice but to “while suffering themselves, reach out to the suffering.” The gift of Christmas was revealed through them, in all its pain and beauty.


The destruction from the earthquakes is still very serious, and the impact will continue to be felt for a long time. There is no light visible yet at the end of the tunnel of sorrow and pain, so the darkness is still deep. But there are people who have been given life by the Light who came into the darkness. These people, like the pastors above, inherit the beautiful commission and continue the work. (Tr. DM)



九州教区総会議長 梅崎浩二

 2016年のクリスマスを迎えようとするこの時に当り、私は、九州教区総会議長として、今年、教区内に経験した未曾有の出来事に 於いてこの目で見た「光」、「闇の中に輝く光」について皆様に報告したいと思う。

4月14日21時26分、熊本地方は震度7、マグニチュード6.5と いう凄まじい揺れに襲われた。何の前触れもなく突 如として起った激しい地震に、人々は怖じ惑いつつ恐怖の一夜を過ごすこととなった。やがて日の光に照らし出さされた惨状を目にしては、途 方に暮れる思いを抱いたのは当然であったが、一方では心の何処かで、何から手を付けて片付けるべきかと思案もしていたのであった。つま り、“地震はこれでおしまいだ”と誰しもが思っていたのだ。“あとに余震が続いても、徐々に収束してゆくだろう”と。

突然に起こり、激しい被害をもたらした大きな揺れに次いで、それをも超 える規模の揺れに襲われるなどとは、地震国と云われるこの国の住民にとってさえ思いも寄らぬことであった。だが、先の一撃から28時間後、16日1時25分にそれは来たのである。震度7、マグニチュード7.3。あの驚くべき一撃を上回る規模の激震であった。傷心のうちにも片付けた家具や什器 は再び吹っ飛んで散乱し、何とか持ちこたえてくれた、と安堵して眺めた家屋は倒壊・壊滅した。

人々は、最早、真に予測のつかない事態の中に置かれていることを思い知ることとなった。自らの頼る地震についての経験則は 一蹴され、悲しむ自らの心を鼓舞しつつ為した復旧の業も一蹴された。“何をしても無駄”。多くの人々は、さながら遥か格上の相手と対戦さ せられたボクサーの如く、戦意喪失と虚脱のうちに立ちつくす外なかったのである。

教会堂も、教会員も、そして牧師達も、他の全ての建造物や人々と同じ く、この巨大な力に翻弄され、傷つけられざるを得なかった。だが、2度の激震に相次いで襲われた震災発生初期、被災地域の牧師達の働きは 将に献身的なものであった。牧師達は、自ら被災者であるにも拘わらず、自らや家族の要を措いて、信徒を探し尋ねては慰め励まし、必要を充 たすべく努め、また避難所に身を寄せる多くの人々に貴重な生活物資を提供し、或いは近隣の被災者を受け入れて世話をし、安心させるよう限 界を超えるような努力を傾けたのである。

或る牧師は、一人住まいの高齢女性信徒のことが気がかりでならなかっ た。地震第一波の後にはその健在を確認出来たが、二度目の揺れ以降、連絡がつかないのである。彼は、道路が波打つかとさえ思われる揺れの 中を彼女の住まいへと向かった。高層マンションである。電気は無論、止まっており、エレベーターは使えない。10階まで階段を駆け 上った彼は、この女性信徒を負ぶって再び階段を降り、牧師館に彼女を運び入れた。この牧師は心身疲労の中にあったが、危険な建物に飛び込 んででも、この様にしないではおれなかったのである。

他の事例である。全損家屋の、なお圧し潰されずに辛うじて残った一室に 身を寄せる信徒夫妻があった。その住いは特に被害の激しい、教会からは離れた地区に在った。道路は著しく損傷しており、その地区に至る術 はないと目されていた。しかし、牧師はバイクに水や食料を積み込むと、脇道・う回路を探りながら遂に彼らの許にたどり着き、以後、繰り返 し訪ねて支え、励まし続けたのである。彼が運び続けた物は、水道も止まり、食料にも事欠く牧師館に住む彼にとって、喉から手が出る程に必 要な、その物であった。

数多く現わされた“傷ついておりながら、傷ついた者へと向う”牧師達の 働きを振り返る時、それらが全て“来て下さった御方を識る者の働き”であったことを強く思わされている。人の抱える悲惨を見捨てることが 出来ず、心痛め、傷つきながら、遂に人の許へと、然も傷つけられて捨てられる為に来て下さった御方に生かされているからこそ、彼等は“傷 ついておりながら、傷ついた者へと向”わではおれなかったのだ。クリスマスの恵みは彼等を通してその痛ましくも美しい形を顕したのだ。

震災の被害は今も深刻であり、これからもその影響は長く続く。悲しみと 痛みのトンネルに出口は見えず、従って闇は深い。だが、闇の中に来て下さった光に生かされている者達が居る。その者達が、かの牧師達の尊 く、美しい業を継いで今、働き続けている。

【December 2016 No.390】2016 Kyodan General Assembly Reelects Current Officers

The 40th Biennial Kyodan General Assembly was held at the Hotel Metropolitan in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, Oct. 25-27. Of the 400 delegates minus the 10 from the Okinawa District who failed to register for the assembly, 366 delegates were registered as present at the beginning of the assembly. As this represented a quorum, the assembly began as scheduled. However, the absence of the Okinawa District delegates continued to be a sore point, as Okinawa District has elected to keep its distance from the Kyodan.


There were 32 mandatory items on the agenda along with 19 non-mandatory items. The first item was that of recognizing the deliberation schedule, and Moderator Ishibashi made several proposals on how to deal with a number of the agenda items. For instance, since Article 12 of the constitution mandates that any proposed constitutional revisions be made public at least three months prior to the General Assembly, agenda item 42 on the revision of Article 9 and related bylaws could not officially be brought forth—a situation for which he offered an apology. However, the proposer of the revision, Kyushu District Moderator Umesaki Koji, stated that since this was a provision that had been passed by the Kyushu District Annual Assembly, not dealing with it at all would leave matters dangling. The agreement after deliberation was to print the proposal in the church newspaper Kyodan Shinpo, and with that provision, the proposal was tabled.


Another issue was the call to establish a place for thorough discussion on the communion service within the Kyodan as well as to rescind the removal of Kitamura Jiro’s ministerial credentials. The Kyodan leadership, however, stated that this proposal could not be carried forward because the final decision had already been rendered in accordance with the rules of discipline. While voices of protest echoed through the hall, the decision to end discussion on this topic was passed. Likewise, the agenda item to restore the 1.2 million yen that had been cut from the Solidarity Fund for Mission in Okinawa was discussed together with the agenda items related to finances, but it was not adopted at this time.


This effort to combine related agenda items at the beginning of the proceedings has only been done in the last few assemblies. As there are over 50 proposals to deal with in three days, such streamlining of the process is vital, and the result was evident in the pace and management of the discussion among various points of view.

The election of the core leadership for the next two-year term was held, and all three members were reelected: Moderator Ishibashi Hideo for his fourth term, Vice-moderator Sasaki Michio for his second term and Secretary Kumoshikari Toshimi for his fourth term. This was followed by the election of the other executive council members, with 10 of the 27 members (5 clergy and 5 laypersons) being replaced. Thus, several members who have worked diligently for the restoration of the Kyodan to normalcy have now passed the baton to a new generation. They will be working with the core leadership to deal with the numerous issues that challenge the Kyodan as it faces an important crossroad—most importantly in the area of finances and the necessary restructuring that accompany this.


One task not accomplished at this assembly was that of naming a replacement for General Secretary Nagasaki Tetsuo, who has resigned from his post. For the time being, General Affairs Secretary Dohke Norikazu will serve as acting general secretary, but hopefully a new person can be found to fill this important post soon. The new head of the Board of Publications, Shindo Atsushi, is a 30-year veteran of the Board of Publications’ staff, and this is the first time that a staff member has been elected to that position. He will carry out the important function of publication evangelism.


It is not an exaggeration to say that the Kyodan has entered an era of changed emphasis, one that stresses cooperative evangelism. My prayer is that this 2016 Kyodan General Assembly Period will be one in which we step out in faith, believing in the promise of II Cor. 12:10, “For when we are weak (for Christ’s sake), we are strong.” (Tr. TB)

—Dohke Norikazu, executive secretary of general affairs

Acting General Secretary


日本基督教団 総幹事事務取扱 どうけ道家のりかず紀一

 第40回日本基督教団総会が、去る10月25日~27日にかけて、池袋・ホテルメトロポリタンで開催された。議員定数400名-ただし沖縄教区選出議員10名は未登録―のうち、開会時に366名の出席者の登録を確認、定足数を満たしており、総会は開会された。沖縄教区が教団と距離を置いて、議員 の選出がないことが続いていることは大きな痛みである。

扱われる予定議事は、法定議案が32議案、法定外議案が19議案であった。冒頭の議案1「議事日程承認に関する件」では、いしばし石橋議長より幾つかの議案の取扱いの提 案がなされた。議案42「教憲9条を改正し、伴って関連教規条項を改正する件


と定められているにも関わらず、公表することができず、上程できない事態に至ったことについて率直に謝罪 が述べられた。しかし、提案者である九州教区総会議長のうめさき梅崎こうじ浩二議員より「教区総会決議に基づく議案なので、全く扱われなかったということではお さまりがつかない」との発言があり、協議の結果、「新報に議案を掲載し、併せて謝罪文も掲載すること」を条件に、上程されないことが 承諾された。

また、議案33と議案44の「北村慈郎教師の免職処分撤回を求め教団内に聖餐の在り方について慎重かつ十分な議論する場の設置を求 める件

は教憲に抵触する議案であること、戒規施行細則に従って「最終審判」が出されているこ とを理由に上程できないことを宣した。議場からは反発の声が上がったが、上程しないことで承認された。さらには沖縄関連議案である 「沖縄連帯金120万円を元に戻す」議案は、財務関連議案で扱われることになった。

総会の冒頭で議事の整理が行われるようになったのは、ここ数総会期である。三日間で50を超える議案を扱うには、このような議 案整理が必要であり、いろいろな意見もある中で、議事運営を滞りなく進めることにおいて一定の成果が見られ始めた、といえようか。

1期2年の任期を終えた三役(議長 副議長 書記)の選挙が行われ、いしばし石橋ひで秀お雄、ささき佐々木み美ちお知夫、くも雲しかり然とし俊み美が再選された。石橋議長と雲然書記は4期目となる。佐々木副議長は2期目とな る。続けて行われた常議員選挙は、三役再選とは異なり、27名中10名(教職5名 信徒5名)が入れ替わった。教団の正常化に尽くして来た何人かの議員がその働きを終えて、次の世代に 交代する時期に来ているといえる。再選された三役と共に、大きな曲がり角に来ている教団の様々な課題への取り組みを担って行くことに なる。特に財政問題とそれに伴う機構改正は必須なことであり、待ったなしである。

このような状況であるが、今総会では退任したながさき長崎てつお哲夫総幹事の後任を選任するに至らなかった。総務幹事どうけ道家が暫く事務取扱を務めることにな る。一日でも早く新しい総幹事が選任され、事務局の体制を整えたい。出版局長には、出版局職員歴30年を超えるしんどう新藤あつし敦が選任された。職員からの選任は初めてのことである。出版伝道の重責を担うこととな る。

今日、教団は立場を越えて伝道協力する時代に入ったといっても過言ではない。「弱い時 にこそ強い主


【December 2016 No.390】PCT and the Kyodan Convene 15th Joint Consultation

The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) and the Kyodan held a joint church consultation, Aug. 22-25, in Taiwan. This was the 15th such biennial consultation of the two churches and alternates between the two countries. This time it was held in the city of Guanziling in southern Taiwan. The theme was “Imitating Christ: Becoming Humble Servants of God” (Micah 6:8, I Cor. 11:1).


There were 49 persons in attendance, including 22 from the Kyodan. The program consisted of an opening worship service, two morning prayer meetings, six plenary sessions, and a closing worship service, after which a joint declaration was released. Those attending included not only cabinet members, general secretaries, and program secretaries from both churches but also participants from the various districts, missionaries assigned to both countries, and in particular, young people who took responsibility and participated actively, thus giving me a great sense of hope.


The themes for the plenary sessions were: “The Current State of the Church and its Task/Challenges,” “The Future of Young People in the Church,” “Reflections on Mission Activity/Humaniterian Aid,” “Mission among the Native Peoples,” “The Challenge of Participating in International Organizations,” and “Reflections and Prospects of the PCT and Kyodan Mission Agreement.”


There were presentations from both churches, followed by discussion. Based on the joint trust that has been built over the years, there were frank discussions on how we can cooperate and deal with the real problems confronting us. I felt that the discussions presented a challenge for the Kyodan to sincerely confront these problems. The fact that the deliberation in preparation for the joint declaration extended far beyond the scheduled one hour to almost three hours is an indication of that challenge. It is a reminder of the difficulty as well as the blessing of a united church in mission together with a denominational church.


The location of this consultation was a hot spring area developed by Japanese during the colonization of Taiwan. On a field trip, we visited Hatta Yoichi Dam, also built during the colonization, has been a great benefit to agriculture/farming in southern Taiwan. Remembering and understanding the history of the Japanese colonization of Taiwan, I feel that we must return to the theme of our consultation as the Kyodan and PCT continue our mission journey together. (Tr. JS)

—Murayama Moriyoshi, member

Commission on Ecumenical Ministries

From Kyodan Shinpo (The Kyodan Times), No. 4848

「教団と台湾基督長老教会との教会協議 会」報告


台湾基督長老教会Presbyterian Church in Taiwan(以下PCT)と教団の教会協議会が8月22日から25日まで台湾で行われた。今回15回を数える協議会は二年に一度、台湾と 日本で交互に開催されており、今回は台湾南部の關子嶺(Guanziling)で「共にキリストに倣い、へりくだって神に仕えるしもべとなる(ミカ書6章8節、コリントの信徒への手紙一 11章1節)



両教会・教団の三役、総幹事、担当幹事、だけでなく、教区から送り出された出席者、それぞれの派遣宣教師 に加えて、青年たちが活き活きと役割を担って主体的に参加している姿に希望を見出す思いがした。


「教会の現状と課題」、「教会青年の未来」、「宣教活動の振り返り 災害救援と復興、「宣教活動の振り 返り 原住民宣教」、「国際組織への参加の課題」、「PCTと教団宣教協約の振り返りと展望」がセッションのテーマで、両教会から発題があり、討論がなされた。PCTと教団がこれまで築いてきた信頼関係に基づいて、これから具体的な問題に協力してどう対処して行くのか、 という課題に教団が誠実に向き合うことが求められていることを感じた話し合いであった。共同声明の協議に、予定の一時間を大きく超え て、三時間近く費やされたことからも伺えるだろう。合同教団が教派教会と共に歩む難しさと豊かさを覚えたい。


今回の会場は、日本の植民地時代に開設された日本式の温泉地であった。フィールドトリップは、日本統治 時代に作られ、台湾南部の農業に大きく貢献した八田與一ダムの見学であった。 台湾が日本の植民地であった事実を理解した上で、現在、これからのPCTと教団の歩みを協議会のテーマに立ち返って歩むことが求められているのではないだろうか。村山盛芳(世界宣教委員)(教団新報4848号)

【December 2016 No.390】Students Recall Experiences During Youth Mission 2016

From Aug. 13-20, a joint Kyodan and Presbyterian Church in Taiwan Youth Mission event was held under the co-sponsorship of the Kyodan’s Commission on Ecumenical Ministries and Committee on Education. This year, youth from Taiwan came to Japan to explore the theme “Let’s share Jesus Christ together.” Along with Japanese youth, we visited the Tohoku Disaster Relief Center, Emmaus, and participated in the Tohoku District Junior/Senior High Camp in Inawashiro and the National Christian Youth Alliance retreat in Karuizawa. There were seven participants from Taiwan and seven from Japan.


First we went to Sendai, where we visited the towns of Arahama and Yuriage and saw the current conditions of these disaster-stricken areas. Together we prayed for their rapid recovery. After visiting the Tohoku area, we went to the town of Inawashiro in Fukushima and participated in the Tohoku District Junior/Senior High Camp. During the camp, Kataoka Terumi, a member of Wakamatsu Sakaemachi Church and a representative from the Tohoku District Nuclear Disaster Relief Task Force, IZUMI, spoke to the group about the nuclear disaster, emphasizing how parents want to protect their children. Following the lecture, the Taiwanese youth shared the problems of nuclear power in Taiwan. We then visited Kirisitan (hidden Christian) remains in the area and learned about the history of Christianity in Japan 400 years ago.


On Aug. 17, a typhoon blasted through, but we were able to arrive in Karuizawa to participate in the National Christian Youth Alliance retreat. On the second day of the retreat, Kyodan missionary Nag Woon-Hae spoke of his work in Korea. Then at the evening worship, Chang Ya-Chun, one of the Taiwanese participants, shared her faith and told us how Jesus had brought change in her life through the witness of a missionary from the U.S.

On Aug. 19, the last day of the Youth Mission event we returned to Tokyo and met General Secretary Nagasaki Tetsuo. He told us of how his own experience as a young person at a retreat had led to his call to ministry and how he has continued to serve Jesus. Both Japanese and Taiwanese youth were encouraged by his witness. Together in Christ, we were able to create wonderful memories and, surmounting our history, make good friends through this joint mission program.

—Sho Khi-Kho, second-year student,

Taiwan Theological College and Seminary


*          *          *

I was richly blessed by God through this Youth Mission event. It was a time of rich fellowship that went beyond the boundaries of denomination and nationality. I was able to learn much from the messages of pastors and participants, and each part of the program helped me encounter God.

Because this camp was the first time for me to visit the East Japan Disaster area, the lecture at Inawashiro on nuclear energy was very impressive. I was overwhelmed by fear as I heard information that I had not known and was confronted with the fact that I had made no effort to get that information. News regarding nuclear energy has gradually declined and, while living in Tokyo, my own awareness had practically disappeared. Along with a renewed sense of the danger of nuclear energy, I became keenly aware of the danger of forgetting what we know about it. As we confront this issue, we need to consider what God is trying to tell us and continue to pray about it. It has been a pleasure to meet other members through this experience, and I thank God for the deep fellowship we have had with one another. Through our devotionals and free time together, we were able to think and share about the church and God. We talked about our studies and our families, about our world and politics. There were no boundaries as we shared and prayed together. Even if our churches and countries differ, I strongly feel that we are all members of God’s family, even though we are now separated.


As the last part of our program, each group shared an action plan for what they would do as Christian youth following our return home. We were to do this in the context of our individual faith, church, and setting. Rather than simply keeping what I have learned at this camp to myself, I have a renewed desire to share the joy I feel in God with those who surround me. I am convinced that God continues to work wherever we are and will use each of us as his instruments. Finally, along with thanksgiving for God’s blessings throughout this experience, I want to express my thanks to all who were a part of the planning, preparation, and support of this Youth Mission event. (Tr. JS)


—Uchida Ayumu, Omiyamae Church

Second-year student, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies

                                From Kyodan Shinpo (The Kyodan Times), No. 4848

ユースミッション2016 蔣 記剛(Sho Khi-Kho)

8月13日 から20日にかけて、教育委員会主 催、世界宣教部共催の日本基督教団(UCCJ)と台湾基督長老教会(Presbyterian Church in Taiwan)の日台ユースミッションが行われました。今年は 台湾青年が日本を訪問し、共に東北教区被災者支援センター・エマオを訪問し、東北教区中高生キャンプ(猪苗代)と軽井沢での全国教会青年同盟修養会に参加しました。今度のテーマは「共に主イエスをシェアしよう!」でした。 台湾から7名、日本から7名の出席でした。

は じめに、日台青年たちは仙台に行って、荒浜と閖上(Yuriage)を訪問し、被災地の現況を見に行きました。一緒に 一日も早く被災地が復興するようお祈りしました。

東 北の訪問の後、福島の猪苗代に行って、東北教区中高生キャンプに参加しました。キャンプ中、会津放射能情報センターい ずみの 代表である片岡輝美さん(日本基督教団若松栄町教会)が原発事故に関する講演をして下さいました。親として、自分の子供たちは自分で守ると述べておられました。 講演後、台湾青年も台湾原発の問題について分ち合いました。その後、猪苗代キリシタン史跡を巡り、400年前の日本キリスト教の歴史を学びました。

17日に台風が突撃しましたが、無事に軽井沢に辿り着き、全国教会青年同盟修養会に参加しました。修養会の2日目 には、日本基督教団のナグネ(Nag Woon-Hae)宣教師が韓国でのご自身の働きをお話して下さいま した。そして、夜の礼拝では台湾青年の張雅鈞(Chang Ya-Chun)姉が、自らの信仰はアメリカの宣教師によって、イ エス様に変えられたものであることを証しました。

ユースミッション最終日の19日に、東京へ戻り、長崎哲夫総幹事にお会いしまし た。長崎総幹事は、ご自身が青年の頃に参加した修養会の経験を通して、献身の決意をし、主イエスに今まで仕えていることを証してくだ さいました。日台青年共に励まされました。今回の日台ユースミッションで、主イエスにあって、日台青年はよい思い出を作り、歴史を越 えたよい友達に出会えました。




今回のユースミッションを通して、私は神様からたくさんの恵みをいただき、教会や国境を越えた素敵な 交わりのときが与えられました。先生方のメッセージやプログラム一つ一つから多くのことを学び、神様と向き合うことができました。

私にとって東日本大震災の被災地を訪れるのはこのキャンプが初めてだったため、猪苗代での原発に関す るレクチャーは特に印象深いものでした。自分の知らなかった情報の恐ろしさに圧倒され、今まで知ろうとしていなかった自分にも気づか されました。原発に関する情報を耳にする機会は徐々に減っていき、東京で暮らしているうちに頭の片隅へと追いやられていたのです。改 めて原発の恐ろしさと、それを忘れてしまうことの恐ろしさを痛感しました。この課題を通して神様が何を語ろうとしているのかを考え、 祈り続けていかなくてはならないと思いました。

またこのキャンプで他のメンバーと出会い、深い交わりを持てたこと は本当に嬉しく感謝なことでした。デボーションや自由時間には、教会や神様のこと、勉強・家族のこと、そして政治や世界のことまでい ろいろなことについてシェアし祈り合うことができました。教会や国籍は違っても、神様の家族であるということを離れている今も強く感 じます。

プログラムの最後には、それぞれの場所に帰ったあとクリスチャンの青年としてどう行動していくかとい うことを、自分の信仰・教会・社会(世界)の三つの視点から考えてシェアする、アクションプランのグループ発表を行いました。この キャンプで学んだことを自分の内に留めるだけでなく、周りに神様の喜びをシェアしていくという思いを新たにしました。これからも神様 がそれぞれの場所で働いてくださり、一人一人が神様の器として用いられていくと確信しています。最後に、このキャンプのために準備し 支えてくださった方々、そして守ってくださった神様に心から感謝したいです。


東京外国語大学2年 内田歩(うちだあゆむ)

【December 2016 No.390】A Half-Century of Working With Nihongo (Japanese Language)

by Timothy D. Boyle, retired missionary Penney Farms, Florida

As a newly retired missionary and ongoing translator and copyeditor for the Kyodan Newsletter, I have been asked to reflect back on my years in Japan. I first began studying Japanese as a junior in college as part of a program at the East-West Center in Hawaii in 1967. Becoming a missionary and spending most of my adult life in Japan was not yet on the radar screen, but that is where God was leading me behind the scenes. I was sent as a “J-3″ (3-year-term missionary to Japan) in 1971 to Sapporo in Hokkaido, and it was there that I sensed a call to the ministry. I returned to the US with my new wife, Yuko (Juji), in 1974 (Yuko is her given name, but she has gone by the nickname of Juji since her youth. Her maiden name was Kurosu, which sounds like the English word “cross,” which in Japanese is “juji.”), and then we returned as regular missionaries in 1982 first to Hokkaido, then to Tsukuba Science City, where we spent the bulk of our ministry, and finally to Kansai area, where I served two years at the Buraku Liberation Center and 6.5 years at Kwansei Gakuin University.


There are many highlights I could share (along with a few “lowlights” I would rather not), but since this has to be short, I will just briefly introduce two. Just about the time we went to Tsukuba in 1986, Juji began having trouble with her muscles and was diagnosed with a rare neuromuscular condition called Isaacs’ Syndrome. (Well, actually, that would qualify as a “lowlight”!) This has resulted in regular stays in the hospital for treatment ever since, which has opened up numerous opportunities for her to minister to fellow patients. One was a young lady by the name of Yuki, who had a malignant brain tumor. Juji became good friends with her and her parents. Yuki loved Christmas lights, and Juji was able to get special permission for Yuki to be brought by ambulance to the church on Christmas Eve, first to see the lights and then for the choir to sing for her prior to the candlelight service. Before she died about five weeks later, she indicated that she would like to become a Christian. We were able to bend the rules Tsukuba University Hospital had about religious activities in the hospital, and so I was able to baptize her right there in her hospital bed. Her parents were so moved by the experience that they too wanted to receive baptism and follow Christ.


As Yuki’s father was a high-ranking prefectural government employee, there were many who came to Yuki’s memorial service, where I gave the message. It was held in a big funeral hall, which would normally have a Buddhist ceremony. But this was to be a Christian ceremony, and so the stage was set up with a large, floral cross. My goal in the message was to get the over 500 people in attendance to think about what “filial piety” towards their true “parent” is. Oyakoko is an integral part of Japanese culture, where duty towards one’s parents is emphasized. The English translation, “filial piety,” is not a phrase Westerners normally use, but it really flows right out of the fourth commandment: “Honor your father and mother.”


Yuki had been a daughter who demonstrated such “filial piety” towards her parents, and so I wanted to emphasize that while showing such respect and devotion to one’s earthly parents is very good, there is one thing that in the end is even more important—that of showing oyakoko to our true oya (parent), namely the God who created each of us in his own image. Funerals, along with weddings, are perhaps the points of contact with the general population who have no background of Christianity where we have the greatest opportunity to plant seeds that the Holy Spirit can use to draw people to Christ. I have no way of knowing whether God has used that particular event to play a role in drawing some of those people there to Christ, but I think it likely that he has or will, as I am aware of many anecdotal accounts of Japanese coming to faith through seeds planted by sensitive messages at Christian funerals.


Along this same line, I have always endeavored to find linguistic and cultural points of contact that can serve as vehicles for communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ to Japanese in as natural a way as possible. The other highlight I want to mention is the book I put out first in Japanese and later in English on how the makeup of so many of the Chinese characters that Japanese use in their language perfectly illustrates biblical truths. The publisher of the original 1994 Japanese version came up with the title that translates in English as Bible Stories Hidden In Chinese Characters, and 5,000 copies were printed in two editions. This is quite a large number for Japanese Christian books, but it is now out of print. I self-published the original English version several year later, and just last year put out an updated version under a new title, The Gospel Hidden In Chinese Characters. It includes the Chinese readings as well as the Japanese so as to have a broader appeal. I hope some day to be able to rewrite the Japanese version and make it available again.


As I close this brief article, I want to say that while I feel I have been able to make important contributions to the mission of Christ’s church in Japan, I can add my voice to that of many other missionaries I have heard who all testify that we have received so much more than we have been able to give during our years of working with the Japanese people. That no doubt will continue to be true in the future, as we plan to return to Japan every summer to spend time at our cabin at Lake Nojiri in Nagano.